Injury from a dog bite can lead to serious consequences. The cost of treatment and recovery may be expensive. Additionally, in some cases, the injury may also have long-term implications. Can I sue someone personally for a dog bite injury? Unless the dog owner was negligent in some way, you cannot sue them personally for the bite.
As pets are regarded as property under the law, then their owners have to exercise control over their dogs. Therefore, you can sue an individual if they are keeping the dog on their property that they control or in their home at their invitation.
You can also sue other relevant third parties who caused you harm as a result of their negligent handling of dogs. If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog, you should contact Andrew Pickett Law, PLLC to explore your legal options and rights.
What Should I Do If I Am Bitten by a Dog?
If you have been bitten by someone’s dog, you need to take a few steps to protect your health and your legal rights. These include:
- Getting immediate medical attention
- Documenting the injury
- Preserving evidence, like keeping the torn clothes.
- You should also try contacting the dog owner to see if he accepts liability.
You should also report the bite to your local health department. They will document the bite and collect information about the dog that bit you, including its vaccination records. This is important for public health reasons. The bite report will help you get any necessary vaccinations to protect against disease.
The report is also critical for your legal rights. It may help in instituting a lawsuit against the dog owner. The report may show that the dog had a history of biting people and that the owner failed to take proper steps to prevent the dog from biting again.
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Factors to Consider When Suing Someone for a Dog Bite Injury
There are several factors that determine whether you can sue someone for a dog bite injury. These include:
- The nature of the injury.
- Whether the dog had a history of biting.
- The actions taken by the dog owner.
The nature of the injury and its seriousness will be critical in determining your legal rights after a dog bite. For example, a minor dog bite might not warrant a lawsuit against the dog owner. The dog’s history of biting is also critical in determining your rights after a dog bite. A dog with a clear history of biting people may warrant a lawsuit against the dog owner.
In most cases, the dog owner is strictly liable for the injury since he or she knew or should have known about the animal’s proclivity for violence when walking with the animal in public spaces.
Who is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?
Depending on the circumstances of your dog bite, you can sue the person who is in possession of the dog at the time of the incident, the dog’s owner, or a third party who negligently caused the dog to bite you. The dog owner is strictly liable for the injury by default, which means that you don’t have to prove that the owner did anything wrong to win your lawsuit. As dogs are legally considered inherently dangerous, so, it follows that any dog bite is automatically the owner’s fault.
If the dog owner was not present or did not have knowledge of the dog’s proclivity for violence, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully sue the owner for your injuries. Equally, if you had trespassed or provoked the dog into attacking, then you cannot sue for a dog bite injury.
Proving Liability for Dog Bite Injuries
To prove that the dog owner is liable for your dog bite injury, you must show the following elements:
- You were bitten by the defendant’s dog.
- The defendant’s dog was present where the injury occurred.
- The dog owner knew or should have known that the dog posed a risk to others.
- You did not provoke the dog.
- The dog’s bite was not justified.
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How Soon Should I Contact an Attorney After a Dog Bite?
If you have been bitten by a dog and you have been affected by the injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are many reasons why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after a dog bite. Here are a few reasons why:
Dog bites can be extremely serious, and can lead to hospitalization, long-term complications, and expensive medical bills. Dog bites can cause psychological trauma, especially if the bite is from a vicious dog. There is also a time limit for pursuing legal action per Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). You have four years from the time of the incident to sue. Anytime after that it will be harder to go through the legal process.
You need to gather evidence that can help you win your dog bite lawsuit. Dog bite cases are often complex, and you need an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and make sure that you don’t miss any important deadlines. You can call us today at Andrew Pickett Law, PLLC to meet me and my team of paralegals.